3 Easy Ways to Start a Family Garden
Do your kids like to spend time outdoors?
Then start a garden!
Gardening is a great outdoor activity with an abundance of benefits.
In this article I’ll show you three easy methods for starting a garden with your kids this spring.
Why Garden With Your Kids?
Gardening is an easy and fun outdoor spring activity that gives kids and parents a free pass to play outside in the dirt. It’s also an excellent way to teach children about organic food, composting and where food comes from.
Plus, gardening can also serve as a great lesson about patience and delayed gratification!
Whether you’re a seasoned or amateur gardener, you’ll enjoy spending time outdoors with your family. You’ll get your hands dirty and create terrific memories, especially when you harvest the fruits of your labor.
The first thing anyone planting a garden has to do is decide what to plant. There are two things to consider: What food does your family like to eat? How much gardening space do you have available?
- If you have a patio and enjoy cooking, consider planting herbs such as basil, cilantro and parsley.
- If you have a good-sized garden area and your family wants to try new fruits and vegetables, you may consider tomatoes, squash, corn, kale, green beans, carrots or cucumbers.
Don’t forget about flowers! They add color to your garden. Plus, some flowers keep bugs away.
If this is your first time gardening, take a trip to your local library or bookstore, and get age-appropriate gardening books to look at with your family. This is an excellent way to get everyone excited about gardening, as well as a means of helping you decide what to plant. You can also do some gardening research online.
Another option: Take a family field trip to your local farmers’ market, plant nursery or home improvement store. These places have experts who can guide you, answer your questions and suggest appropriate plants (some can be poisonous), given your taste and space.
After you choose what to plant, decide whether you want to start your garden with seeds, seedlings or starter plants. Your local gardening experts can give you advice on that, as well.
Once you make all of the important decisions—as a family, of course—you’re ready to embark on your fun family gardening adventure!
Here are three methods you can use to start your family garden.
The first two are “eggcellent” options—using eggshells or cartons to grow seedlings from seeds. The third can be used for seeds or seedlings.
#1: Grow “Egglings”
Egglings are an easy, low-maintenance way to grow seeds into seedlings and prepare them for planting.
Use eggshells for this method of starting your garden from seeds.
You will need to collect eggshells in advance and ensure they are carefully washed and dried before you use them. If you are careful with your egg cracking, you can use two nearly equal halves from each eggshell. Note: If you’re concerned about salmonella, you can place your eggshells in a pot and boil them for a few minutes.
Remove the top of one of the egg cartons with scissors and place an empty eggshell in each cup. Pierce each eggshell bottom with a nail for drainage and then have your kids help you fill them with potting soil.
Following the seed package instructions, place the appropriate number of seeds into each eggshell and cover them with soil. Moisten the soil with a spray bottle filled with water. Place the egg carton in a sunlit area.
Since this is a family adventure, you can give each kid different seeds to be in charge of or you can work on all of the seeds together.
CAUTION: If birds like to visit your garden area, be sure to cover your egg carton to protect the egglings.
When the seedlings are ready to be transplanted into the garden or container, place the eggling directly into the garden soil.
The eggshells are biodegradable and safe for planting. In fact, the calcium found in eggshells is known to be good for the soil.
#2: Start Egg Carton Planters
You can also start your seedlings using a cardboard egg carton. This method is very similar to the one noted above.
Remove the top of a clean cardboard egg carton and pierce each “egg cup” to create a drainage hole. Fill each egg cup with soil and add the appropriate number of seeds, following the instructions on the seed package. Again, this is an easy step for your kids to do.
Once the seedlings are ready, use scissors to separate each egg cup. Place them directly into the garden or container.
Just like the eggshells, the cardboard is biodegradable and will break down as the plant continues to grow. Note: The amount of time it takes for cardboard to biodegrade is relatively short in comparison to other forms of trash. It takes cardboard only 4 weeks to degrade. However, a plastic water bottle will be around for eternity. (Source: www.greenecoservices.com)
#3: Plant Seeds or Seedlings
If want your garden to start quickly, or wish to employ a couple of methods at the same time, consider purchasing seedlings or starter plants from your local plant nursery or home improvement store.
You can also purchase seeds and place them directly into the garden soil. Just plant them according to the package instructions.
If you decide to plant seeds directly in the soil, be sure to mark their location for watering purposes. So you don’t mix up the seedlings, work with your kids to create, decorate and place labels in your garden.
Remember, when it comes to watering, less is more! But be careful your garden doesn’t get too dry.
A garden is a fun family project you can work on all spring and summer long… and enjoy the fruits (and vegetables) of your labor. Start your seeds or seedlings, plant them together and care for them as a family.
Some Final Thoughts…
Hopefully, these three easy gardening starter ideas have inspired you to garden with your family this spring. Keep in mind there are countless ways to get started. In fact, you can also grow your seedlings indoors in plastic cups (recycled yogurt containers are terrific!). The key is to have fun and work together through all of the stages of your family garden!
What do you think? Will you start a garden with your family this spring? Tell us about your favorite gardening tips and stories. Be sure to share photos with us, too!
Heide Estrada loves to create family memories. When not working, you will find her photographing her children, trying new recipes, planning family trips or browsing Pinterest for her next project. Other posts by Heide Estrada »